There was a buzz in the air all day in anticipation of the evening’s performance. Morning and afternoon, instrumental and choral pieces were given a final polish in both the individual and combined groups.

The lunchtime recital was a real treat, given by professional guitarists Saki Kato and Hugh Milington – the Miyabi Duo. Their performance of music spanning several centuries revealed the variety of styles and sounds possible from the guitar, including the use of both body and strings as percussive elements. Like other performers at previous Summer Schools, Hugh had participated in MfE activities as a youngster, though not as a player but a singer!

As you can imagine, arranging a hall to accomodate 150+ performers in wind band, string orchestra, full orchestra and choir formation, with three conducting points, four conductors, two pianos, an organ, two sets of timpani, lots of percussion and a table for tuned wine glasses, while still leaving space for a solist and audience of family and friends, takes some time and is no mean feat, but we did it.

Getting ready for the final rehearsal.

The performance of music reflecting this year’s theme of ‘Voyages of Discovery’ – both in space (Now you understand this blog post’s title!) and at sea – was well received. Everyone sang and played with great enthusism. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in three days of intensive rehearsal with great tutors and conductors. Of course there were a few wrong notes, but there was always the right spirit in the music and the opportunity to perform, which is what Music for Everyone is all about.

The String Orchestra enjoyed a rare opportunity for an amateur group – playing a concerto with a professional soloist. Conductor Abi Smith and leader Isobel Bounford ensured a wonderful balance between orchestra and soloist, Hugh Millington, leading to a beautiful performance of Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto.

The concert ended with a mighty fine I vow to thee my country by all performers and audience – this was within the full orchestra’s rendition of Holst’s Jupiter, which included particularly splendid horn playing.

At every great event, much goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and each participant has a great experience. MfE office staff Amy and Kirstie packed away the urns after the final break having made and served several thousand cups of coffee and tea. (Not forgetting putting out hundreds of biscuits that always disappeared within a few minutes.) They then turned their hands to playing percussion in the evening concert, alongside ‘Events’ Anne tootling her flute and Executive Director Robin compering the evening. And somehow, inbetween and after all that, they collected, set up and served the farewell buffet, then cleared EVERYTHING away until the High School was as though we had never been there.

Huge thanks go to them all, and to conductors Hilary Campbell, Gill Henshaw, Angela Kay and Abi Smith, recitalists and workshop leaders, Richard Cox – THE most amazing accompanist, Nottingham High School for being such fab hosts, and to every participant. We hope you had a great time.

Hilary encouraged the choir to ‘be more Hollywood, less British’, so it seems fitting to say ‘It’s a wrap’ for Summer School 2019! We’ll be back next year with Summer School 2020.

There will be a wonderful concert in Beeston Parish Church tomorrow, Saturday 16 January, 7.30pm. Four Music for Everyone groups join together to perform a programme of classical music spanning more than 300 years. The most recent composition, Flame, by Ben Parry, was written in 2012 and inspired by the concept of the Olympic torch. Tickets will be available on the door. Come by tram, bus or car, but arrive early for the best seats as the New Year concert is popular. Participating are Nottingham Youth Voices, the East Midland Youth String Orchestra, East of England Singers and the New Classical Players. Composers include Handel, Mozart, Brahms, Bizet, Pergolesi, Holst and Parry. Hope to see you there.

 

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not the turkey, but brown envelopes!

 

 

The staff in the office are stuffing them (as they call this process) with everything we singers will need for the Nottingham Festival Chorus (NFC) Missa Solemnis course at the end of January, 2016.

Beethoven’s work is one of the most astonishing and demanding choral pieces. What better way can there be to pass the long, dark, winter evenings than to learn the music? Not for NFC, weekly rehearsals. No. We practise alone initially, with the help of a CD and rehearsal tracks, or perhaps with a group of friends, and all in anticipation of the course and giving a fine concert on the 6th of February

Attending the sectional rehearsal helps with the learning process. For tenors and basses, that’s Thursday 7th Jan, and for sopranos and altos, Friday 8th Jan, both 7.30pm at Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus.  The course itself, at Bluecoat Academy, Aspley Lane, will focus on the tricky bits (there are quite a few of them) and polishing each movement to performance standard.

The Missa ISMNM201895444_2Solemnis is rarely performed due to its challenges. Come and be part of a fantastic opportunity and (what we are sure will be) an amazing concert. Invite your choral friends who live elsewhere, sing in other choirs etc to join you in enrolling for the course and concert.

If this particular course sounds a little advanced, worry not. Music for Everyone offers exciting music-making opportunities for all abilities of singers (and instrumentalists), so there’s plenty for everyone – four Daytime Voices choirs, the Workers Choir, the musicals and summer NFC courses, Summer School, choral workshops, etc, etc, etc.

Coming soon from the Artistic Director: Angela Kay’s Guide to Stuffing a Turkey. Oh, that was meant to read: Angela Kay’s Guide to Singing the Missa Solemnis.

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgHaving founded the Nottingham Choral Trust (now Music for Everyone) in 1983, Angela decided that a permanent chamber choir might add to the confidence of the Nottingham Festival Chorus and enable even more challenging works to be sung. In 1985 she formed an auditioned group, the East of England Singers (EOES), originally intended to perform for part of each season with the East of England Orchestra (now Sinfonia Viva) – hence the name.

2015 EOES

Some of the current choir have been members ever since, and in June 2015 the choir celebrated its thirtieth birthday with a reunion choir performance of Bach’s magnificent Mass in B minor. Members often say that EOES is the friendliest choir they have ever sung with. We work hard not just at our singing but also for Music for Everyone, with most of us contributing something to other groups, both adult and youth: Tea makers, cake bakers, shop runners, Bookwise helpers, blog writers, programme note writers, tour organisers, membership secretaries, accounts, NFC accompanist, Daytime Voices and Vocals! conductors, accompanists and helpers, recorder players, organist, violinist, harpsichordist, staging, lighting, sound, photography etc. You name it, we do it!

Our next concert is very soon. Saturday 17 October, 7.30pm, St John’s Church, Mansfield Rd, Carrington, Nottingham. The programme, spanning almost three centuries, comprises sacred and secular works that vary in mood from sombre to joyful, and in sound from gentle and melodious to rhythmic and dramatic. There will be trumpets and drums, other brass and wind instruments and, of course, the choir. We would be delighted to see you there and for you to enjoy music by Purcell, Stravinsky, Mozart and Bruckner.

Click here to see the programme and for tickets.

More about EOES and joining the choir.

 

 

 

 

The Summer School short concerts by visiting musicians, and the masterclasses each of them P1110261gave, were a different experience for those of us who sing or play regularly with Music for Everyone. They enabled us not only to hear wonderful performances but to then learn how to improve our own technique and performance.

Carris, a mezzo-soprano, read history at Cambridge while also singing as a choral scholar with the excellent Trinity College choir. Afterwards she studied singing and performance at the Royal Academy. She performed Robert Schumann’s song-cycle Frauenliebe und Leben for us with great expression and to the delight of the audience. Timothy Uglow accompanied her with great sensitivity. Such a beautiful performance that emphasised again points made by many of the tutors – the importance of posture, facial expression and engaging the audience.

Four singers (apologies if I missed anyone, I slipped out to the strings for a time), bravely sang their solo pieces to the whole choir. Carris helped each of them points of difficulty in the music or their vocal technique, be that breath control, enunciation or performing rather than singing the notes. The difference Carris’s suggestions made could be heard as the delegates sang again some or all of their pieces. Inspirational, and a big bravo to them all!

Joan, Jeanne (whose hand Carris is holding to swing at the breathing points!), Catherine and Paul.

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Helena

Three masterclass opportunities are included in the Summer School. A masterclass is where an individual receives tuition while others watch, listen and learn. Sarah Watts offered a masterclass for wind and brass players.

P1110221Before the masterclass, Sarah gave a concert of contemporary music for the clarinet, including a piece for bass clarinet. Her enthusiasm for performance drew us, the audience, into sounds and styles that were new to many of us. She played with vibrancy, delicacy, force, percussively, with the use of harmonics (sounding two notes at once) and always with great musicality.

Sarah’s second piece was Pierre Boulez’ Domaines pour Clarinet. It requires 7 music stands. On one is the anchoring music, and on the other six sections of the piece that shift yet relate. The music of these stands, placed around the performance space, are to be played from left to right or in another direction. The musician chooses the order in which to visit each stand, revisiting each a second time to play the score in the other direction before returning to the ‘facing the audience stand’ for the close of the piece.  I imagine no two performances of the piece can ever be the same, a true collaboration between the composer, musician and audience, who travel the path of composer and musician both with eyes and ears. Goodness, that was hard to describe! I can assure you it sounds extraordinary and amazing. Google it if you would like to know more.

Yesterday, in Back to Basics, we talked about time and key signatures, bar lines etc. Boulez has ‘liberated’ the piece from these. Here’s a picture of Sarah’s score. NB – this is what a pencil is for! P1110224

When I dropped in on the masterclass, Sarah was offering advice about genres of music suited to a particular stage of learning, and the use of the breath.

Here with Sarah are clarinetists Jennifer and Angela, and trumpeter Richard:
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To find out more about Sarah, visit her website.

Did I say this would be a blog sandwich? Make that a triple decker. Owen Cox and the string masterclass will follow after coffee.

Helena